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Concept: Hadoop


BACKGROUND: For shotgun mass spectrometry based proteomics the most computationally expensive step is in matching the spectra against an increasingly large database of sequences and their post-translational modifications with known masses. Each mass spectrometer can generate data at an astonishingly high rate, and the scope of what is searched for is continually increasing. Therefore solutions for improving our ability to perform these searches are needed. RESULTS: We present a sequence database search engine that is specifically designed to run efficiently on the Hadoop MapReduce distributed computing framework. The search engine implements the K-score algorithm, generating comparable output for the same input files as the original implementation. The scalability of the system is shown, and the architecture required for the development of such distributed processing is discussed. CONCLUSION: The software is scalable in its ability to handle a large peptide database, numerous modifications and large numbers of spectra. Performance scales with the number of processors in the cluster, allowing throughput to expand with the available resources.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Phosphorylation, Search engine optimization, Computer science, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, Peer-to-peer, Hadoop, Distributed computing


BACKGROUND: Secondary use of large scale administrative data is increasingly popular in health services and clinical research, where a user-friendly tool for data management is in great demand. MapReduce technology such as Hadoop is a promising tool for this purpose, though its use has been limited by the lack of user-friendly functions for transforming large scale data into wide table format, where each subject is represented by one row, for use in health services and clinical research. Since the original specification of Pig provides very few functions for column field management, we have developed a novel system called GroupFilterFormat to handle the definition of field and data content based on a Pig Latin script. We have also developed, as an open-source project, several user-defined functions to transform the table format using GroupFilterFormat and to deal with processing that considers date conditions. RESULTS: Having prepared dummy discharge summary data for 2.3 million inpatients and medical activity log data for 950 million events, we used the Elastic Compute Cloud environment provided by Amazon Inc. to execute processing speed and scaling benchmarks. In the speed benchmark test, the response time was significantly reduced and a linear relationship was observed between the quantity of data and processing time in both a small and a very large dataset. The scaling benchmark test showed clear scalability. In our system, doubling the number of nodes resulted in a 47% decrease in processing time. CONCLUSIONS: Our newly developed system is widely accessible as an open resource. This system is very simple and easy to use for researchers who are accustomed to using declarative command syntax for commercial statistical software and Structured Query Language. Although our system needs further sophistication to allow more flexibility in scripts and to improve efficiency in data processing, it shows promise in facilitating the application of MapReduce technology to efficient data processing with large scale administrative data in health services and clinical research.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, Data, Hadoop,, Benchmark, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud


SUMMARY: Computational workloads for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are growing in scale and complexity outpacing the capabilities of single-threaded software designed for personal computers. The BlueSNP R package implements GWAS statistical tests in the R programming language and executes the calculations across computer clusters configured with Apache Hadoop, a de facto standard framework for distributed data processing using the MapReduce formalism. BlueSNP makes computationally intensive analyses, such as estimating empirical p-values via data permutation, and searching for expression quantitative trait loci over thousands of genes, feasible for large genotype-phenotype datasets.Availability and implementation: CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Concepts: Genetics, Algorithm, Statistics, Computer, Computer science, De facto standard, Personal computer, Hadoop


Bioinformatics is challenged by the fact that traditional analysis tools have difficulty in processing large-scale data from high-throughput sequencing. The open source Apache Hadoop project, which adopts the MapReduce framework and a distributed file system, has recently given bioinformatics researchers an opportunity to achieve scalable, efficient and reliable computing performance on Linux clusters and on cloud computing services. In this article, we present MapReduce frame-based applications that can be employed in the next-generation sequencing and other biological domains. In addition, we discuss the challenges faced by this field as well as the future works on parallel computing in bioinformatics.

Concepts: Future, Hadoop, Cloud computing, Grid computing, Linux, Google, File system, MapReduce


Genomic information is increasingly used in medical practice giving rise to the need for efficient analysis methodology able to cope with thousands of individuals and millions of variants. The widely used Hadoop MapReduce architecture and associated machine learning library, Mahout, provide the means for tackling computationally challenging tasks. However, many genomic analyses do not fit the Map-Reduce paradigm. We therefore utilise the recently developed SPARK engine, along with its associated machine learning library, MLlib, which offers more flexibility in the parallelisation of population-scale bioinformatics tasks. The resulting tool, VARIANTSPARK provides an interface from MLlib to the standard variant format (VCF), offers seamless genome-wide sampling of variants and provides a pipeline for visualising results.

Concepts: Scientific method, Gene, Bioinformatics, Machine learning, Learning, Analysis, Variant type, Hadoop


One of the solutions proposed for addressing the challenge of the overwhelming abundance of genomic sequence and other biological data is the use of the Hadoop computing framework. Appropriate tools are needed to set up computational environments that facilitate research of novel bioinformatics methodology using Hadoop. Here we present cl-dash, a complete starter kit for setting up such an environment. Configuring and deploying new Hadoop clusters can be done in minutes. Use of Amazon Web Services ensures no initial investment and minimal operation costs. Two sample bioinformatics applications help the researcher understand and learn the principles of implementing an algorithm using the MapReduce programming pattern.

Concepts: Genomics, Data, Computer, Computational genomics, Computer science, Hadoop, Cloud computing, Amazon Web Services


Given the current cost-effectiveness of next-generation sequencing, the amount of DNA-seq and RNA-seq data generated is ever increasing. One of the primary objectives of NGS experiments is calling genetic variants. While highly accurate, most variant calling pipelines are not optimized to run efficiently on large data sets. However, as variant calling in genomic data has become common practice, several methods have been proposed to reduce runtime for DNA-seq analysis through the use of parallel computing. Determining the effectively expressed variants from transcriptomics (RNA-seq) data has only recently become possible, and as such does not yet benefit from efficiently parallelized workflows. We introduce Halvade-RNA, a parallel, multi-node RNA-seq variant calling pipeline based on the GATK Best Practices recommendations. Halvade-RNA makes use of the MapReduce programming model to create and manage parallel data streams on which multiple instances of existing tools such as STAR and GATK operate concurrently. Whereas the single-threaded processing of a typical RNA-seq sample requires ∼28h, Halvade-RNA reduces this runtime to ∼2h using a small cluster with two 20-core machines. Even on a single, multi-core workstation, Halvade-RNA can significantly reduce runtime compared to using multi-threading, thus providing for a more cost-effective processing of RNA-seq data. Halvade-RNA is written in Java and uses the Hadoop MapReduce 2.0 API. It supports a wide range of distributions of Hadoop, including Cloudera and Amazon EMR.

Concepts: Gene expression, Parallel computing, Unix, Hadoop, Parallel algorithm, Central processing unit, Superscalar, Instruction pipeline


Next generation sequencing (NGS) allows investigating mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) characteristics such as heteroplasmy (i.e. intra-individual sequence variation) to a higher level of detail. While several pipelines for analyzing heteroplasmies exist, issues in usability, accuracy of results and interpreting final data limit their usage. Here we present mtDNA-Server, a scalable web server for the analysis of mtDNA studies of any size with a special focus on usability as well as reliable identification and quantification of heteroplasmic variants. The mtDNA-Server workflow includes parallel read alignment, heteroplasmy detection, artefact or contamination identification, variant annotation as well as several quality control metrics, often neglected in current mtDNA NGS studies. All computational steps are parallelized with Hadoop MapReduce and executed graphically with Cloudgene. We validated the underlying heteroplasmy and contamination detection model by generating four artificial sample mix-ups on two different NGS devices. Our evaluation data shows that mtDNA-Server detects heteroplasmies and artificial recombinations down to the 1% level with perfect specificity and outperforms existing approaches regarding sensitivity. mtDNA-Server is currently able to analyze the 1000G Phase 3 data (n= 2,504) in less than 5 h and is freely accessible at

Concepts: DNA, Mitochondrion, Mitochondrial DNA, Human mitochondrial genetics, Mitochondrial disease, Hadoop, Paternal mtDNA transmission, Heteroplasmy


The development of network technology and the popularization of image capturing devices have led to a rapid increase in the number of digital images available, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify a desired image from among the massive number of possible images. Images usually contain rich semantic information, and people usually understand images at a high semantic level. Therefore, achieving the ability to use advanced technology to identify the emotional semantics contained in images to enable emotional semantic image classification remains an urgent issue in various industries. To this end, this study proposes an improved OCC emotion model that integrates personality and mood factors for emotional modelling to describe the emotional semantic information contained in an image. The proposed classification system integrates the k-Nearest Neighbour (KNN) algorithm with the Support Vector Machine (SVM) algorithm. The MapReduce parallel programming model was used to adapt the KNN-SVM algorithm for parallel implementation in the Hadoop cluster environment, thereby achieving emotional semantic understanding for the classification of a massive collection of images. For training and testing, 70,000 scene images were randomly selected from the SUN Database. The experimental results indicate that users with different personalities show overall consistency in their emotional understanding of the same image. For a training sample size of 50,000, the classification accuracies for different emotional categories targeted at users with different personalities were approximately 95%, and the training time was only 1/5 of that required for the corresponding algorithm with a single-node architecture. Furthermore, the speedup of the system also showed a linearly increasing tendency. Thus, the experiments achieved a good classification effect and can lay a foundation for classification in terms of additional types of emotional image semantics, thereby demonstrating the practical significance of the proposed model.

Concepts: Parallel computing, Computer graphics, Semantics, Machine learning, Emotion, Statistical classification, Support vector machine, Hadoop


Fuzzy associative classification has not been widely analyzed in the literature, although associative classifiers (ACs) have proved to be very effective in different real domain applications. The main reason is that learning fuzzy ACs is a very heavy task, especially when dealing with large datasets. To overcome this drawback, in this paper, we propose an efficient distributed fuzzy associative classification approach based on the MapReduce paradigm. The approach exploits a novel distributed discretizer based on fuzzy entropy for efficiently generating fuzzy partitions of the attributes. Then, a set of candidate fuzzy association rules is generated by employing a distributed fuzzy extension of the well-known FP-Growth algorithm. Finally, this set is pruned by using three purposely adapted types of pruning. We implemented our approach on the popular Hadoop framework. Hadoop allows distributing storage and processing of very large data sets on computer clusters built from commodity hardware. We have performed an extensive experimentation and a detailed analysis of the results using six very large datasets with up to 11,000,000 instances. We have also experimented different types of reasoning methods. Focusing on accuracy, model complexity, computation time, and scalability, we compare the results achieved by our approach with those obtained by two distributed nonfuzzy ACs recently proposed in the literature. We highlight that, although the accuracies result to be comparable, the complexity, evaluated in terms of number of rules, of the classifiers generated by the fuzzy distributed approach is lower than the one of the nonfuzzy classifiers.

Concepts: Data set, Experiment, Distribution, Computer, Accuracy and precision, Proposal, Hadoop, Pruning